When the president comes to town, it’s a big deal. As it should be. Air Force One touches down, the president greets dignitaries, choppers downtown and a really big motorcade carries him around.
People along the route wave, take photos and tell their friends, “I just saw the president.”
Eh, not everybody:
On this particular trip, thousands were stuck along Lake Shore Drive and in Lincoln Park Wednesday night as an entire neighborhood was shut down so Obama could mingle with blue-chip guests who paid $10,000 for the honor.
This comment was posted on the website DNAInfo.com:
“The City of Chicago and those affiliated with President Obama need to come up with a better plan . . . Last nights traffic was a nightmare. The fact that they shut down LSD in both directions is unacceptable. It took my wife over 2 hours to go 3 miles. Our daughter was stuck at daycare in Lincoln Park with no way for us to reach her. Completely ridiculous!!”
It was not the size of Chris Christie’s Bridgegate, but it did engender a certain amount of fury.
My Sun-Times colleague Tina Sfondeles was wishing she had a helicopter instead of a car to drop her off at home.
“It took me one hour and five minutes to get home . . . At many points, I was only two miles from my home but pushed the other way because of roadblocks. People were really losing patience . . . making U-turns in the middle of the street and trying to find side streets.”
Small businesses suffered. Around 8 p.m., I stopped at a restaurant on Armitage Avenue, a street clogged with cars trying to re-route from a shutdown on Fullerton. The restaurant phone was ringing like a fire alarm with customers demanding where the heck were their orders?
“I’m so sorry,” apologized the harried woman at the register, “but the president is just blocks away and everything is blocked off.”
No consolation for someone waiting for a little fried rice.
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